I used to love getting a summer reading list every year as a kid.
Yes, I am no longer too cool for a Kindle… and no, kale chips do not photograph well.
Until the summer I had to read Lord of The Flies. Like… why? I am still creeped by that book. Semi-related: I thought Game of Thrones was called Lord of the Thrones. And I referenced it aloud. To people who actually read the books. Or maybe they just watch the show? No judgement from the lady who has watched all the Harry Potter movies, but barely made it through a chapter without getting confused.
I gave the first Harry Potter book a valiant try, but just couldn’t get into it. After mostly paying attention to the movies, I still don’t understand why HP turned into a baby snake and died on a train platform. Or did I get that wrong, too?
Anyway, Lord of the Flies, Lord of the Dance, Lord of the Thrones… none of these titles are on my summer reading list this year.
And while I certainly don’t want to wish time away, I am looking forward to a time when I can read on the beach without fear of both my children joining another family, eating a dead crab, stepping on a fish-hook, needing stitches, getting swept out to sea, and/or discovering that the ice cream truck sells… ice cream.
For much of this summer, my reading time was confined to that fleeting 20 minutes between the house being quiet and settled and me crashing headlong into bed. But I’ve recently been making an effort to read books during the time I’d normally be reading the Internet (which was a surprising amount, when I actually took account).
And because my list is fairly short and possibly uninspired, I’m sharing the highlights from our kids’ summer reading list too. We have read some really good books this summer (and Grace earned her 3 hours of summer reading prize from our local library, she was so proud!).
2017 Summer Reading | Grown Up Lady Edition
- Dark Money: The Hidden History of the Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Radical Right by Jane Mayer Suffice it to say, this is neither a light nor uplifting read. But it is fascinating and illuminating and very well written. Also, I think you know my political leanings (once I was being interviewed for a cable access show in Boston and I was mistakingly introduced as Elizabeth Clinton and it was basically the greatest on camera moment of my life), and my obsession with politics in general, but there was so much in this book that I just didn’t know. It was an excellent replacement for reading about the current state of our union on Twitter. Disclaimer: If you find yourself on the other end of the political spectrum (or maybe, to take it like 900 steps further, you’re cool with morally bankrupt billionaires hijacking our democracy)… you may want to read something else. Like, say, Lord of the Thrones.
- The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton This was a fairly fast read for me (I stayed up way past my bedtime, caught up in the suspense), and a very good one at that. And then I went down a major learn everything about Dutch miniatures rabbit hole.
- A Piece of the World by Christina Baker Kline Another really beautiful novel surrounding a work of art, though this one is inspired by a real painting (Andrew Wyeth’s Christina’s World). This one took me a bit longer to get into, but I really enjoyed it once I did.
- Everyday Detox by Megan Gilmore Yes, this is a cookbook. But it is one of the few that I read cover to cover, including the introduction (I am going to re-think skipping introductions from now on). Many of these recipes have become summer staples, including the quinoa tabouli and dairy-free strawberry lime sorbet.
Next up: Saints for All Occasions by J. Courtney Sullivan (I love everything she writes… and #funfact: Her dad went to BC with my parents); At the Edge of the Orchard by Tracy Chevalier; The Neapolitan Novels by Elena Ferrante (I’ve had all three on my Kindle for ages, but sort of keep forgetting to start them).
2017 Summer Reading | Preschooler + Toddler Edition
- Ribbit by Jorey Hurley The most beautifully illustrated book. Super simple, but perfect for talking about metamorphosis (if you’re into that sort of thing) with Grace or just making frog noises with Nicky.
- Scaredy Squirrel makes a friend and Scaredy Squirrel has a birthday party by Melanie Watt Super silly and fun series — Grace (who tends to be somewhat fearful and anxious in new situations) really liked the endings to each of these.
- Edmond, the Moonlit Party by Astrid Desbordes Come for the really sweet story about being yourself and reaching out to make friends… stay for the owl who makes his own amazing costumes and arrives at a party dressed as a seagull.
- Hap-pea all year! by Keith Baker We are enamored with the peas series.
- The Best Days are Dog Days by Aaron Meshon This is, hands down, the summer favorite. After renewing it twice from the library, we need to order our own copy. The story and illustrations are so perfect — and not just because they feature a little girl and her French bulldog who bears a striking resemblance to our Clark.
- Sloth Slept On by Frann Preston-Gannon Hilarious ending. And we know I love sloths. And mail.
- All the World by Liz Garton Scanlon Not necessarily a summer reading book (because we read it every night, often twice), but it is such a beautiful, calming, encouraging book… so well worth a mention no matter the season. Marla Frazee’s illustrations are heavenly.
Not listed: Every, single book about trucks and construction currently available in print. But trust me, we’ve read them. And they’re mostly good. Also, Grace has been using this preschool workbook and really loves it. We’ve been working mainly on the pre-reading and writing activities, but it’s full (315 pages!) of well planned content.
Time to Lord of the Dance my way over to that stack of books on my bedside table.
Also On Tap for Today:
- How perfectly on topic: This article
- A Plan for Raising Brilliant Kids, According to Science from NPR.org (I hope this plan involves preschool workbooks… JK… sort of…)
- So many helpful ideas (especially the one about not reading books you don’t enjoy, which should be obvious… but it wasn’t for me): How I tricked myself into reading more books from Lifehacker.com
What are you reading this summer? Am I a bad person for the whole Harry Potter thing? At what age can you trust little people on the beach?